Department of Communication & Journalism

MSC 03 2240
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505)-277-5305

Tema O. Milstein

Associate Professor
Ph.D. Program Director

Photo: Tema O. Milstein


Office: Room 206
Personal Website

Ph.D., University of Washington, 2007


Dr. Milstein's teaching and research interests are in ecocultural/environmental communication, culture and communication, and critical cultural inquiry. Milstein is a Fulbright Scholar and a recent UNM Outstanding Teacher of the Year.


My work focuses on the culture of nature and the nature of culture, with research generally fitting in the categories of environmental, ecocultural, and cultural communication. My methodology is largely interpretive, cultural, and critical. Questions I am interested in include:

  • How are ecological and cultural perceptions and practices reproduced or transformed through communication?

  • How is the self altered through culture, environment, and communication?

  • How does nature mediate communication and culture?

I'm working on several smaller projects and two large research projects. The two larger projects are:

  • Nature Tourism Discourses: A long-term ethnographic study focused on the interplay of communication, tourism, and wildlife. My study is centrally concerned with the ways communication in international tourism settings constructs views of and actions toward endangered whales and non-endangered dolphins and their ecosystems. My locations of focus have been the Canada-U.S. Pacific border and New Zealand's South Island.

  • Connecting Community Voices: A collaborative participatory action research project with a team of C&J graduate students, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, The Wilderness Society, UNM Resource Center for Raza Planning, and Arts de Aztlan. This is a restorative endeavor, working with Nuevo Mexicanos to help identify cultural environmental meaning systems, rewrite their communities into the land, and influence environmental politics and policy.

Recent Sample Publications

To freely read any of these publications, please go to

  • Milstein, T., & Pulos, A. (2015). Culture jam pedagogy and practice: Relocating culture by staying on one’s toes. Communication, Culture, & Critique.

  • Milstein, T. (2013). Communicating “normalcy” in Israel: Intra/intercultural paradox and interceptions. Tourism and Cultural Change. 11 (1-2), 73-91.

  • Milstein, T. (2012). Banging on the divide: Cultural reflection and refraction at the zoo. In E. Plec (ed.) Perspectives on Human-Animal Interaction: Internatural Communication. (pp. 162-181). London: Routledge.   

  • Milstein, T. (2012). Survive, critique, and create: Guiding radical pedagogy and critical public scholarship with the discursive guideposts of ecopedagogy. Green Theory and Praxis Journal. 6 (1), 3-16.

  • Milstein, T. (2012). Greening Communication. In S.D. Fassbinder, A. J. Nocella II & R. Kahn (Eds.) Greening the Academy: Ecopedagogy through the Liberal Arts (pp. 161-174). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Milstein, T. & Dickinson, E. A. (2012). Gynocentric greenwashing: The discursive gendering of nature. Communication, Culture, & Critique. 5 (4), 510-532.
  • Chen, Y.W., Milstein, T., Sandoval, J., Anguiano, C., & Knudsen, L. (2012). Challenges and benefits of community-based participatory research: A case of collaboratively examining ecocultural struggles in New Mexico. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture. 6 (3), 403-421.
  • Milstein, T., & Kroløkke, C. (2012). Transcorporeal Tourism: Whales, fetuses, and the rupturing and reinscribing of cultural constraints. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture. 6 (1), 82-100.
  • Anguiano, C., Milstein, T., De Larkin, I., Sandoval, J., & Chen, Y.W. (2012). Connecting Community Voices: Using a Latino/a critical race theory lens on environmental justice advocacy. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. 6 (3), 403-421
  • Milstein, T., Anguiano, C., Sandoval, J., Chen, Y.W., & Dickinson, E. (2011). Communicating a "new" environmental vernacular: A sense of relations-in-place. Communication Monographs. 78 (4), 486-510.
  • Peterson, J., Milstein, T., Chen, Y.W., & Nakazawa, M. (2011). Self-efficacy in communication: The development and validation of a sojourners' scale. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. 4 (4), 290-309.
  • Milstein, T. (2011). Nature identification: The power of pointing and naming. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture. 5 (1), 3-24.
  • Milstein, T., & Manusov, V. (2009). "Oppositional discourse in Israeli media: Reflections of multiple cultural identities in coverage of the Rabin-Arafat handshake." Howard Journal of Communications. 20 (4), 353-369
  • Milstein, T. (2009). "Environmental communication theories." In Stephen Littlejohn and Karen Foss (eds.). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory (pp. 344-349). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Milstein, T. (2009). "Somethin' tells me it's all happening at the zoo: Discourse, power and conservationism." 3 (1), 25-48. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture.
  • Milstein, T. (2008). " When whales 'speak for themselves': Communication as a mediating force in wildlife tourism." Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 2 (2), 173-192.
  • Milstein, T. (2007). "Human Communication's Effects on Relationships with Animals." In M. Bekoff (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of Our Connections with Animals (Vol. 3, pp. 1044-1054). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.


Donal Carbaugh, Donna Haraway, Val Plumwood, Arturo Escobar, Stuart Hall, Norman Fairclough, bell hooks, Michel Foucault, etc.

Teaching Style

I strive for a highly interactive and experiential pedagogy that engages students in transformative learning. I am interested in helping students discover ways to critically apply their learning to their work and their lives.


2012 Fulbright Scholar, New Zealand; 2011 UNM Outstanding New Teacher of the Year Award; 2009 Christine L. Oravec Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Environmental Communication, National Communication Association; Top Papers in Environmental Communication: 2012 from International Communication Association, 2010 & 2006 from National Communication Association; 2011 from Western States Communication Association.

Affiliated Faculty

Sustainability Studies Program & Water Resources Program.

Spare Time

Being with my sweet family, gardening, being outdoors, yoga, snowboarding, travel.